SDPD racial profiling study to be presented to City Council

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) — A study that sought to quantify racial profiling in traffic stops by San Diego police officers is scheduled to be presented to the City Council Monday.

The council is also scheduled to hear updates from the San Diego Police Department on how the findings will be incorporated into training, development of new policies and potential costs for new systems as requested when the study was presented to a council committee in November.

Also on the agenda, the SDPD and mayor’s office are expected to report on actions being taken to implement the report’s recommendations.

The analysis of tens of thousands of traffic stops by San Diego police officers in 2014 and 2015 showed a general trend of racial disparities, leading some members of the public to say at the committee hearing that it proved what they’ve been living through.

Among the findings:

  • black and Hispanic drivers citywide were more likely than white drivers to be searched following a traffic stop, but whites were more often found with contraband
  • black, Hispanic, and Asian/Pacific Islander drivers were subject to field interviews at greater rates than white drivers
  • white drivers were more likely to be pulled over in neighborhoods south of Interstate 8 during daylight hours, when officers could see the person’s race
  • no meaningful difference existed in the rate at which drivers from each racial or ethnic group were arrested.

The study, conducted by researchers at San Diego State University, was limited to stops made for traffic violations, not for drivers who met suspect descriptions, or code enforcement actions.

Among the recommendations were acknowledging the existence of racial and ethnic disparities, enhancing training in the area of bias, replacing data cards with an improved record-keeping system and making community engagement a core value.

Council President Myrtle Cole asked police leaders to commit to collecting data as called for in new state legislation on racial profiling, to identify potential expenditures that will be needed, and report on how the report’s findings will be incorporated into academies and other training programs.

In a separate but related item, the council will be asked to confirm a dozen members to the Citizens Advisory Board on Police/Community Relations, which is being revived after being dormant since the late 1990s.

The panel will work on crime prevention efforts, encourage open communication and cooperation between police and the public, and inform residents of their rights and responsibilities during interactions with officers.

Among the nominees are San Diego Police Officers Association President Brian Marvel, gangs and sex trafficking expert Armand King, and Brian Pollard, a human resources professional who leads a nonprofit that works in underserved communities. Pollard would be the chairman.

Categories: Local San Diego News